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Authors: Jillian Michaels

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Why is this important? One of the most important functions of the hypothalamus is to connect the nervous system to the
endocrine system via the
pituitary gland. The hypothalamus controls, among many other things,
hunger. Ever wonder why, when you
eat food that contains MSG, it’s hard to stop eating? This might be the answer. Studies have shown that MSG affects the neurological pathways of the brain, disengaging the “I’m full” function and causing increased hunger and strong food cravings. In addition, regular consumption of MSG may result in myriad adverse side effects, including depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, and obesity. Don’t be fooled if you don’t see it as a listed ingredient—MSG is very often camouflaged under the guise of sodium caseinate, hydrolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, or autolyzed yeast.

Found in:
Chinese takeout and restaurant foods (ask to hold the MSG), many snacks, chips, cookies, seasonings, soup products, canned foods, frozen dinners, and lunch
meats.

8. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).
BHA and BHT are
preservatives commonly found in most nonorganic cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. They are oxidants that keep foods from changing color, changing flavor, or becoming rancid. They primarily affect the neurological system of the brain, which can alter behavior, disrupt your
endocrine system (
hormones), and form cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body, potentially leading to cancer. It may be hard to find packaged products without BHA or BHT, but you can find them—make sure you read the labels carefully. It’s definitely worth it to try.

Found in:
potato chips, gum, cereal, frozen sausages, enriched rice, lard, shortening, candy, and Jell-O.

9. Antibiotics.
Antibiotics are routinely given to farm animals to fight infections from inhumane feedlot conditions and to cause the animals to grow larger and faster than normal. For all you pescatarians out there who think you’re safe, antibiotics (along with pesticides
for sea lice—yuk!) are also given to farm-raised fish for the same reasons.

In case you haven’t figured out where I’m going with this,
antibiotics don’t just affect the animals that ingest the drugs; they also affect the humans who eat the animals. A number of studies suggest that the overuse of antibiotics may be greatly contributing to our expanding waistlines, causing people to pack on fat like farm animals. There are many suspected reasons for why this is happening. Low and steady doses of antibiotics can cause “unusual” activity in genes that are linked to breaking down carbohydrates and regulating cholesterol (blood fat) levels. Antibiotics also kill the “good bacteria” in our gut, which help us to absorb vitamins and minerals. If we can’t absorb these micronutrients, then we can’t effectively synthesize hormones.

The list of possible concerns is endless. For more in-depth details on antibiotics and how they wreak havoc with weight, read “
Drugs That Sabotage Your Slim
”. Beyond contributing to obesity, the overuse and ingestion of antibiotics is causing a massive threat to humanity by creating “
superbugs,” or bugs that are resistant to antibiotics, like
MRSA. Their overuse is also linked to yeast infections, leaky gut syndrome, candida, and more. You can avoid unintentionally taking them by going
organic with your meat and eating wild-caught fish as often as possible.

Found in:
conventionally raised livestock (including poultry) and farm-raised fish.

10. Pesticides.
A study conducted by the Mercer University School of Medicine examined whether pesticide exposure plays a role in worldwide childhood obesity. The researchers observed nearly 6,800 subjects aged six to nineteen. They determined individuals’ exposure to environmental pesticides through the use of urine tests, so they could identify the concentrations of pesticide residues. They
found a higher prevalence of obesity in the participants with high urinary concentrations of a pesticide known as 2.5-dichlorophenol (2.5-DCP). Why should you care about this hard-to-pronounce stuff? It’s simple:
2.5-DCP is one of the most widely used pesticides on the planet
. Now, this particular study focused on kids, but many other studies have found similar effects with adults. Pesticides disrupt the
endocrine system, which in turn causes the metabolism to “malfunction.” And you know where that leads—right to your bottom (or your belly).

Found in:
the majority of nonorganic fruits and vegetables.

LAND, SEA, OR TREE • • 2 POINTS

If it didn’t come from the ground or the ocean or have a mother—don’t eat it. Think about it. Twinkies and Cheetos—what the hell are these? There’s no Twinkie tree, and I’m pretty positive that nothing ever gave birth to a Cheeto. This goes back to what I was saying earlier about chemicals in food. Foods that don’t have an obvious organic origin are pure chemicals, and as we’ve established, chemicals make us fat. Following this tip is an easy way to identify obesogens without doing a ton of label reading and ingredient Googling. If it doesn’t come from
nature, don’t eat it.

GO BACK TO
NATURE • • 2 POINTS

EZ CALORIE CUT

Instead of drinking an 8-ounce chocolate milk shake, drink a fruit-only smoothie.
CUT: 280 CALORIES

Don’t be derivative. Eat real versions of the food you’re choosing to consume. Have a baked sweet potato, not a frozen bag of sweet potato fries. Have a bowl of berries or mash them into a fruit spread, not Smucker’s jam, which also contains high-fructose corn syrup, a big NO here! Air-pop popcorn kernels instead of eating bagged popcorn (with butter). Have an actual piece of cheese, not Cheese
Whiz from a can filled with
preservatives. Get the idea? Basically, when you go to eat something, first ask yourself whether the food is in its most natural, unprocessed form. If it isn’t, swap it out for “whole” food. Why am I being so adamant here? Because these derivatives of the real deal are overly processed and usually contain tons of extra calories and chemicals that are making us fat. It’s pretty simple to say no to the fake stuff when you know what’s in it.

KEEP IT CLEAN • • 2 POINTS

I think you may have gleaned this already, but on the extremely off chance that you didn’t: go
organic whenever possible. As I’ve said, the
pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics in our foods are making us sick
and
fat
. I realize that times are tough, but the good news is that not everything has to be organic.

Here’s where you should prioritize your organic dollars: beef, dairy, ocean-caught seafood, and thin-skinned fruits and vegetables. If you can find a way to come up with an extra twenty bucks a week for groceries (and use the tips in
Chapter 6
to save money on food), I promise, you can make a huge impact on your health, your weight, and ultimately your pocketbook. That’s right—spending a bit more now will save you a fortune later. Sickness is expensive. In fact, it’s the number-one cause of bankruptcy in America today.

HERE ARE THE TWELVE

DIRTIEST

FRUITS AND VEGGIES. YOU SHOULD CONSUME THESE

DIRTY DOZEN

ONLY IF THEY

RE ORGANIC:
Apples
Nectarines
Bell peppers
Peaches
Celery
Pears
Cherries
Potatoes
Grapes (imported)
Spinach
Lettuce
Strawberries

Conversely, other fruits and veggies have less pesticide residue, so you don’t need to spend your hard-earned dollars on organic. They have either a thick skin or natural insecticides that protect them from pests without chemicals.

HERE IS A LIST OF FRUITS AND VEGGIES YOU MAY HAVE HEARD REFERRED TO AS THE

CLEAN FIFTEEN
”:
Asparagus
Mango
Avocado
Onions
Cabbage
Pineapple
Cantaloupe
Sweet onions
Corn
Sweet peas
Eggplant
Sweet potatoes/yams
Grapefruit
Watermelon
Kiwi fruit
 

If you can’t afford or don’t have access to an organic version of any of the Dirty Dozen, swap that choice out with an option from the Clean Fifteen. For example: have a mango instead of an apple. Have a grapefruit instead of berries. And though it’s not on this list, if you can’t afford organic milk, try coconut milk or almond milk instead. They don’t have added hormones or antibiotics in them.

FORGET ABOUT
FAT-FREE • • 2 POINTS

I’m sure that at some point in your life, even if not right now, you’ve fallen for the fat-free-food phenomenon. Beware—just because the label says it’s fat-free doesn’t mean it’s free of calories or good for you.
Fat-free foods often add in fillers and chemical crap to make up for the lack of taste, nutrients, texture, and palatability. Make sure you do more than glance at the label. You’ll likely find that it lists HFCS, modified food starch, sugar, salt, and a host of chemicals, food colorings, and preservative agents. That doesn’t sound free to
me. The costs will be plenty to your health and waistline. Ideally, you’ll choose the low-fat version. I’d even prefer you choose a full-fat version over heavily processed nonfat options.

MAXIMIZE YOUR
NUTRIENTS
EAT IN TECHNICOLOR • • 2 POINTS

Following this simple guideline will yield great results:
White food = bad. Colorful food = good.
To clarify, processed, white food is bad (white pasta, white bread, non-whole-grain cereals, white rice, and the like)—basically, anything that comes from white, bleached flour that’s been stripped of fiber and nutrients. These foods are nutritional wastelands. They can be high in calories, and they send your blood sugar skyrocketing, which is bad, bad, bad for weight loss. White fish, egg whites, chicken breasts are all fine; these are “healthy whites.” And conversely, food that’s colored
naturally
is great for you. Deeply colorful berries, apples, citrus, and dark greens are loaded with powerful phytonutrients and fiber that help to boost fat metabolism, fight aging, improve immunity, spur energy, and control hunger. The more
color on your plate, the better!

GO
LOCAL • 1 POINT

Follow the
hundred-mile rule. Whenever possible, eat food that’s been grown within one hundred miles of where you live. First, it supports the local economy and helps to decentralize the food system, which is really important as big food companies are infiltrating every aspect of our lives and making us fat with processed junk. Second, eating locally saves you money on groceries, because the local farmers in your area don’t have the overhead that supermarket
chains do for marketing, transport, and employees, as well as the real estate costs of a storefront.

SLIM MYTH:

Vegetarian diets are healthier than meat-eating ones.

FAST FACT:
Sure, eating lots of veggies is healthy. But as I’ve said before, cutting out an entire “real” food group is a bad idea. We’re
omnivores; we’ve evolved to eat both animal proteins and plants. Animal products contain key nutrients like iron, B vitamins, omega-3s, and calcium, which are critical for your health. While you can find plant-based foods with
some
of these nutrients, the amounts are often significantly smaller.

Just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you’re healthy. You could still be eating tons of processed grains, soy, sugar, and chemicals—which are not good food choices. The key is to eat lots of healthy, organic veggies, 100 percent whole grains, wild-caught fish, and grass-fed, unprocessed meat in moderation.

Third—and most important where this book is concerned—local food is fresher. Locally grown fruits and veggies are better for you because they’ve been given time to ripen naturally (conventional produce is often picked before it’s ripe, then is sprayed to look pretty), allowing the nutrients that occur in the plant to mature. Also, when fruits and vegetables travel long distances, they oxidize, which means they age en route and lose powerful nutrients and antioxidants. Remember, good nutrition is a critical component of your overall health and immunity as well as your weight management, as it helps to optimize hormone balance and metabolic function.

You can get meat, cheese, and eggs from local farmers as well. It’s better for the environment and local economy, and to find out if it’s better for your waistline, too, make sure to ask them if they use hormones or antibiotics on any of their animals. If they do, this purchase is no better for your
weight
than store-bought versions of the same items. Almost always, though, the food you find at local
farmer’s markets will be organic. You do have to ask, though. Many small farmers don’t use pesticides or other harmful ingredients but haven’t been able to afford the organic certification process.

There are a few key ways to follow the hundred-mile rule. Find
out where your nearest farmer’s market is and shop there. Or join a
CSA (community supported agriculture) program—local farms that let you buy a “share” of the farm or pay a monthly fee in exchange for monthly produce deliveries, often straight to your doorstep. Another option is to join a
food cooperative, a member-owned business that provides groceries and other products to its members at a discount. Most of the products are organic and come from local family farms. All you do is sign up and pay some dues.

The best way to find these programs is to check the websites of government and nonprofit organizations, such as the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (
afsic.nal.usda.gov
); FoodRoutes (
www.foodroutes.org
); Cooperative Grocers’ Information Network (
www.cgin.coop
); and LocalHarvest (
www.localharvest.org
). All the info you need will pop up on your screen.

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